CAN YOU BE A RELATABLE INFLUENCER?
Let me start off this post by saying: I hate the term Influencer. Well, not exactly hate it, because I definitely have stumbled across Instagram feeds with hundreds of thousands of followers where every single post is an #ad – in those sorts of cases, Influencer suits them very well. But when every YouTuber, blogger or D-List celeb is called an Influencer, it irks me a little.
The title of Influencer suggests that any content creator on the internet is purely a walking, talking advertisement for a variety of brands. That their whole purpose is to sell, sell, sell (and make money from all that selling in the process). As I said above, there’s definitely people who fall under that Influencer category, but for the majority of creators, it simply isn’t true. And calling everyone an Influencer negates the work and content that they do; squeezing them down to their #spons. But for the purpose of this post, that’s what I’ll call them.
Honest & Relatable
I have had a slogan, of sorts, for most of my Blogging & YouTubing lift – Honest & Relatable Beauty/Lifestyle. I’d like to think that everyone on the platforms is honest with their opinions and reviews, but there is somewhat a lack of trust these days due to PR gifting, sponsored content and people trying to get ahead by lying their way to the top. I do negative reviews as well as positive ones and always give both pros and cons to anything I talk about, and I hope people can trust what I say!
Relatable is the funny one, though. People will have different ideas of relatable. For example, a lawyer with an income of £100k would not think I’m relatable as we have a vastly different lifestyle, but that’s not really my target audience. My target audience is people like me – average humans with normal lives, with perhaps a slightly lower income and a love for beauty. It’s working well for me so far!
However, there is a constant worry that as I’m not living an ‘Influencer lifestyle’, i.e. not going on holiday three times a year, not having the perfect body, skin or facial features, not posing outside blogger-esque coffee shops on Instagram, I won’t get far. I don’t have a lot of expendable income to always buy the latest releases, or the high-end luxury products that the bigger YouTubers are buying. I’m just not that type of girl! Will this mean I won’t ever get a million subscribers, or even 100,000? Am I not pretty enough, not perfect enough, not the right ‘type’ for this Influencer career? What if people follow others that are vastly different to themselves, as a form of escapism? Maybe they don’t want relatable at all.
There’s also the worry that due to my lighthearted, honest, down-to-earth personality online, I won’t ever get the opportunities that most YouTubers get. Companies may be too scared that I’ll negatively review a product and won’t send me PR, sponsored content might not come my way because I won’t do an ad without truly loving a product and brand and using for a long time first, brands might not ask me to events because I won’t post about it in a certain way on Instagram, or I won’t look pretty enough to be reposted.
The Wrong Image
I remember going to my first ever event – the Revolution Pro Launch party – and people assumed I was someone’s Plus One rather than there because I was a YouTuber and I was invited. They didn’t look at me, but looked instead to the girl I was stood with. I was pushed out of circles and not talked to at all until I found a nice group of people I had done a collab with earlier in the year.
Because of that experience, it made me question whether I had the right ‘look’ for this job, and ever since then I have put more emphasis on honest reviews and being super relatable because people generally see me as a random person rather than Influencer material. But can you be a relatable Influencer? I don’t have a normal 9-5 job, I have a makeup collection larger than most people and I have received PR in the past… those three things aren’t really relatable to the average person and I’m just getting started. If my channel grows bigger I’ll probably get more PR, perhaps an #ad or two, and maybe I’ll end up becoming more like all those other YouTubers I see on Instagram. Will I still be considered relatable then?
I don’t have a definite answer because I honestly don’t know. I have been thinking about this topic for quite a while and still don’t know what I want to say, or what the future will hold for me, but I do hope that I will always remain true to myself, no matter what happens.